Brake Pads and Rotors – What You Need to Know

Brakes are another very important working part of your vehicle. For one, by law your braking system has to be working correctly. The insurance company will not cover you if the braking system (and other things) are not properly maintained on your car.

Two, you have to be able to stop for the School Bus, stop signs, stop lights and other traffic situations such as someone cutting you off and stopping, kids running into the road, and someone crossing against a light (crossing on a red light on their side of the road opposite yours).

There are a few different types of brake pads and rotors. The older cars have a combination of pads/rotors/drums for the rear of the car, some just have pads/shoes/drums in the rear, and some have just pads and rotors.

Some vehicles may come with both Drum and Rotor in the rear, such as the Mazda MPV. They have both rotors and drums in the back. I would check to see what you have in the rear before you do the job.

Many working parts go into repairing a braking system. Off the top of my head these are pads, shoes, rotors, drums, brake fluid, gloves, springs, clips, pins, wheel cylinders, and calipers.


Brake Pads

brake padsThese pads come with different pads. They are semi-metallic, organic and ceramic. You would usually choose semi-metallic or organic for normal use.

If you have a High Performance vehicle, you may want to go with ceramic. They can take the heat from friction better and will not wear out so fast (race cars, street-strip, ect).




Some vehicles have to have special tools to remove these. You can always check with a mechanic or someone who knows these cars to get the right tools. Even searching the internet will help you find the right ones (if you are doing them yourself).

Also, be aware that if the new rotor and old one do not match, such as the holes do not line up, or there is a difference in size. Take back the new ones and bring the old one to match up. Not every rotor is made in the USA. (The parts store people are not going to go through every rotor to find those because it’s really time consuming. They have too many rotors in stock to do that.)


Brake Shoes

These are another form of brake pad only larger. They require springs to hold them in place. You can buy a spring kit to use in case one of them breaks so that you can get the new ones on.

I always make sure I have all the parts I need to do the job. You can return the unused one(s) later.




Brake Drum

This is a large metal drum with holes inside it for installing your brake shoes. These are fairly inexpensive unless you have a large SUV or truck.

Drums are not light to pick up. Some of them are fairly heavy because of the size. Just be careful.


Here are 10 Tips to Changing Brakes easier…


This video shows how to change pads and rotors on a vehicle…



Brake drums and shoes video…


I hope you use this as a guide to change your own brakes. Remember to always have chock blocks in front and behind the wheels, work on a LEVEL surface, and make sure you have everything you need to start your project.

I like being able to do things that need to be done on the car. finding the information I need to repair it, find the best deal on parts and accessories for it.

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